By JOE CATULLO
With hardly any clouds in the sky, minor wind gusts and a Division II school, Youngstown State had a golden opportunity to notch another win and gain momentum from a two-game skid.
The only problem was the Penguins did not give as much effort as Alderson-Broaddus, said YSU coach Steve Gillispie. The Battlers capitalized with an 11-9 victory at Bob Cene Park, the only time YSU (13-31) plays there this season.
“Nothing against a D-II team, but we should be beating them,” the Penguins’ Craig Goubeaux said. “I don’t know if guys didn’t come ready to play or if we took them too lightly, but you can’t take anybody lightly because baseball will get you.”
YSU held an early 6-3 lead before its pitching fell apart. Starter Lance Horner and Pat Shedlock kept the Battlers (23-21) in check for five innings, but Russ Harless could not. He allowed seven runs (five earned) on seven hits and one walk in one and one-third innings pitched.
Pitchers Robert Switka, Alex Frey and Erik Okleson also made appearances, and they allowed one run combined after Harless’ departure. As a whole, the Battlers scored their 11 runs on 15 hits.
“We threw a lot of balls that were around the belt or higher and in the middle of the plate, and they hit them,” Gillispie said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s Division II, Division III, Major League, whatever. At some point a guy’s going to tie you up when you’re throwing the ball there.”
Alderson-Broaddus scored five runs in the sixth inning and three in the seventh for an 11-6 lead. YSU rallied for three runs in the bottom of the seventh and could’ve had more. Drew Dosch represented the go-ahead run with runners at the corners with two outs but hit a hard liner right to first baseman Bobby McLaughlin.
“You look for solid contact when you have RBI situations,” Gillispie said. “I guess that’s why they put them out there at all nine positions.”
Going into the game, Gillispie decided to rest some of his starters including Mike Accardi, Phil Lipari and Josh White. Jason Shirley, Devin Higgins, Padraic Williams and Goubeaux filled in the spots and delivered. They combined for 11 hits and four RBIs.
“They took advantage of an opportunity to play, and they executed what we tried to set up as our offensive approach for the day with what we knew about their team,” Gillispie said. “It was a great effort on their part, and it played out in success for them. We just didn’t do enough of it.”
After the game, Gillispie talked with his players in right field a little longer than usual.
“We didn’t do what he had talked about in [batting practice], and we just really need to come together as a group and start listening to what they had to say,” Goubeaux said. “Really just talking to us about how we need to stick to the game plan.”